Trust fundraising is becoming increasingly competitive, and even more challenging when making cold approaches to funders that have never supported your work before.

As part of your research on prospective funders, making initial contact (where you can) can be a good way of getting that little bit of extra information to strengthen your proposal. It can also help to get you in mind when your application does land.

We know that cold calling requires some courage and we understand how nervous you may feel about being rejected, but it is important to remember that trusts are established to charitable organisations so they actually require us to help carry out their mission. Making a phone call is definitely becoming the more ‘old school’ way of communications these days, but it still is the best way to quickly get information you need.

At Amplify, we have over 20 years of successful fundraising experience, and we have had some great experiences in opening up doors by getting on the phone to funders as part of an initial approach.

Here are some tips for building confidence when preparing to call trusts.

  1. Plan ahead

Plan ahead of time, do your research on the organisation’s website or accounts, ensure you meet the eligibility requirements, and have in mind the project or approach you would like to make.

  1. Think about a question or reason to call

This may be related to something unclear in the guidance or accounts. You may want to find out when their next meeting request is, or discuss what sorts of levels of funding they give. It is important to make sure that the question you are going to ask hasn’t previously been addressed in their guidance. Your reason to call might help you to determine whether it is worthwhile submitting an application at all.

  1. You’re not calling to sell!

The phone call should be treated more as a chance for you to find out more information. No funder is going to ask you to give your elevator pitch. The call should be for you to clarify and help guide your approach. Think more about the trusts’ purposed related to what you are fundraising for to indicate that you’ve done your research.

4. Show your passion

A key rule across all fundraising is being passionate and sincere about what you do. While you are not calling to sell it is good to get across your motivation in your fundraising.

  1. Some people just don’t want to talk

70% of the time whoever you are calling will be willing to help you, however keep in mind some charitable trusts are either run by a family or just one part time administrator. They may not have time to talk to you. It’s important therefore that you are always planning ahead and have a reason to call (back to points 1 & 2). If they can’t talk you can politely close the call.